5 Foolproof Ways To Manage Thick, Unruly Hair (And 1 Surprising Styling Product Dupe)

These handy (and hydrating) hacks will go a long way to making your unruly mane far more manageable.

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How to Manage Thick Hair - full face shot of woman with thick black hair wearing pink earrings

Thick hair has volume and bounce to spare, but this texture doesn’t always equal perfect hair days. But don’t worry, these foolproof tips from industry experts on how to manage thick hair will have unruly manes tamed in no time.

Go for length

Hair that extends past your shoulders elongates your strands, weighs unruly hair down and won’t add extra width to your frame. “That applies to layers and fringe, as well — keep it long,” says Kristjan Hayden, creative director for Aveda Canada. “Avoid anything that’s too short so that hair doesn’t expand horizontally.”

Mind your moisture

Just as with curly hair, hydration is the secret to conquering frizz and fly-aways. To up your mane’s moisture levels, reach for a creamy hair mask that will reduce volume. (Aveda makes a lovely one with cupuaçu and shea butters.) Hayden recommends using one weekly all year round, but it’s essential in warmer weather. “If your hair is dry, the cuticle opens up to try to absorb the moisture in the air,” he explains. “That’s why hair frizzes in the summer, when humidity is at its highest.”

Double up

Body lotion isn’t just a must for hydrated skin, it’s a perfectly clever dupe for styling cream. “If you own a natural body moisturizer, it’s highly effective in hair,” Hayden says. “Some people leave a bit of conditioner in, but a little body lotion used post-shower will make hair soft and manageable.”

How to manage thick hair - profile shot of woman with sleek thick black hair wearing a white dress
Dress, hm.com.

Always use a heat protectant

If it’s ultra-sleek, shiny locks you’re after, apply a styling foam to towel-dried hair to smooth out the cuticle before air-drying, says Hayden. Then, you can go in with a flat iron — but not before applying a healthy dose of heat protectant onto strands. Once you’re done styling, run a lightweight finishing spray or oil over your locks to add hold and shine.

Hydrated hair doesn’t have to feel heavy

If you’re worried about smoothing products weighing your hair down, ensure you make the most of what you’re using in the shower. “When washing your hair, always use a hair mask instead of conditioner if your hair is dehydrated and lacks suppleness,” says Anna Giannini, L’Oreal Professionnel Portfolio Artist and senior stylist at Untitled by Flaunt Boutique. “It’s also most effective when left on the hair for three to five minutes every time.”

How to get frizz-free, towel-dried hair

“Avoid rubbing your hair with the towel, instead just blot — the gentler, the better,” says Giannini. “I recommend not leaving the hair wrapped around the towel for longer than five minutes and to add a styling product sooner rather than later to damp hair to lock in moisture and reduce the chance of frizz.” She advises applying your product to the ends of your hair working your way up until you reach the middle of the hair shaft. “After that, towel blot your hair of excess water and re-apply more product if needed, this way you can feel if there are any parts you may have missed. If your styling cream isn’t evenly distributed throughout it will have more of a chance of becoming frizzy.”

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